2014, Archives, December 2014, The MFA Years

A Series of Questions

Is it the end of November already? Without seasons to guide you, it’s ridiculously easy to lose track of time in Southern California. While Whittier lives in a Winter Wonderland, I’m left wondering, “What winter?” On Thanksgiving it was 90 degrees. I wrote with my window open. Everyday I say I’m going to retire my flip-flops for the season and everyday I’m greeted with warm weather and another excuse not to.

Is unemployed guilt a thing? Even though I’m sticking to my budget closely and should be fine financially, I sometimes get the urge to get a part-time job, because I feel guilty that I’m not earning an income. I feel guilty that I’m not juggling multiple things and that my only focus is school and writing. I usually silence the voice by reminding myself that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and that there will be plenty of time to spread myself thin next year when I’m TAing. Really, getting a job would just be a way to find an excuse to not focus on my writing and I didn’t spill all those tears applying to MFA programs, so I could go on not privileging my writing in my life.

Does sitting down and writing ever get any easier? The stories are true, the struggle to write doesn’t suddenly disappear because you’re in an MFA program. I frequently feel like a child throwing a tantrum, but I’m also the adult too, so I just wind up doubly frustrated with myself. I have a plan to get a lot of reading done over winter break AND to finally establish a regular writing schedule. Writers write every day (mostly…). I took advantage of the $20 special on Scrivener and am hoping having a new toy motivates me to write more. Writing is the only activity I love to do that I have to force myself to do; every time.

Minda, don’t you have anything else you’d like to share? Well, since you asked… A couple of weeks ago the director of my program invited me to speak to her class, the Mixed Race Novel, about being biracial. It was a class of 300 students and the most people I’ve presented to at one time. I talked about my family and my hair. I also had my first day of service for my community outreach fellowship. It was my first time working with children and by the end of the day I was exhausted and I was only at the school for four hours! I don’t know how teachers do it. The kids were all great, high energy and really eager to write their memoirs. Also, it looks like next week I will be participating in my first reading as an MFA student.

Image: Ethan Lofton

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